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When I first start working with a hair or beauty salon my initial priority is to set up marketing systems. Systems and processes may not sound like sparkling marketing activities when you’re dying to get new clients walking in through the door. But believe me, they are central.

You see for many salons the responsibility for marketing and growing the business falls to the owner, who is usually strapped for time, so marketing keeps getting relegated to the bottom of the ‘To-Do list.’ Not a good place for your most important business activity.

This is where systems and procedures score as they carry on regardless – whether you’re on holiday, too busy with clients or just plain exhausted – robust marketing systems will keep you sane and in profit.


Salon Marketing Systems vs Marketing Plan

So what exactly is the difference?

A Salon Marketing Plan is your road map. It sets out the big marketing picture – what, why, where and when.

Salon marketing systems are the next stage on from this Plan. Systems and processes are the tools, steps and structures which enable you to implement your marketing activities on a daily basis and sustain marketing momentum.

Marketing your salon shouldn’t be a burst of creative activity once in a blue moon but rather a systematic organised activity.


Why are marketing systems so important for your salon business?

For me these are the 3 main reasons why marketing systems are so fundamental to growing your hair or beauty salon:

1. Systems free up your precious time

Salon owners are time-poor and it makes business sense to streamline essential marketing activities so they don’t have to be carried out by YOU. All those little things that you have to self-generate each time sap your time and energy. Stop reinventing the wheel every time and instead focus on putting marketing systems in place. Your salon will run more smoothly and you will have less hassle and more time.

2. Make life easier for yourself

Being organised in business is crucial if you want to run a successful salon. Your salon needs to be able to function fully without you.

It’s far too easy to become indispensable. If you are, then your salon will never reach its full potential and you’ll find it difficult to take time out for your holidays, training and other essential business activities. Putting systems in place is a big part of the answer

3. Better Delegation. Higher standards.

As you recruit more people to your salon team you need marketing systems and procedures in place so they can quickly understand what is expected of them and how to do it.


How to create marketing systems for your salon

There are 5 steps:

  • Identify
  • Build
  • Procedure
  • Implement
  • Review

STEP 1: Identify and analyse

You almost certainly have systems in other parts of your business for booking holidays, cashing up and staff induction. You’re looking to do the same thing with your salon marketing. There is a way for you to do everything more systematically in your business.

Wondering where to start? Try looking at your Recommend a Friend schemes, how you deal with a first visit, welcome pack and the follow-up, how you use your salon social media, your loyalty scheme or lapsed clients.

STEP 2: Build the right marketing foundations

Get your team involved and brain-storm what you need to put in place for a system to work – perhaps a content managed website, new marketing mailers for lapsed clients, an excel spreadsheet or set up something on your till software?

Think about who the system will be delegated to. When they will do it and what further training may be needed so that everything happens the same way each and every time?

STEP 3: Create the steps for each marketing process

Now document the individual steps, no matter how small, in an easy to follow crib-sheet. Covering all the nitty-gritty is essential. I find checklists are a good tool here too.

Then make sure the final checklist/procedural steps is highly visible within the (except to clients) so have them made into posters for the team room, pop a laminated copy behind reception or pin up above your desk.

STEP 4: Implement your new salon systems

Once everything is in place (and not before) launch your new marketing system. You’re hopefully going to be delegating some or all of it so decide if training is needed, empower the team and set out the standards.

With salon systems I always suggest the owner pilots the system for a short while. This way you soon discovery any gaps and it means you understand the system inside out. This makes it harder for anyone to pull the wool over your eyes.

I remember setting up a lapsed client system with a hair salon some years ago. The owner complained a few months in that it wasn’t making any difference and no-one seemed to be coming back. The receptionist responsible for implementing the system was adamant she was doing it. However, on a salon visit I asked her for the printed list of names for that month. It turned out she didn’t know how to get the lapsed client list off the till software. Rather than admit her ignorance to the owner she lied about sending them out. Not one single client had been followed up. The owner had never operated the system herself and therefore it just hadn’t occurred to her.

STEP 5: Review and fine tune

Monitor each marketing system and tweak it where necessary. Is a step unnecessary? Has Facebook changed its rules and layout (again) or have you got some new salon software which will help automate some of the steps?


One salon marketing system at a time

Remember: whatever it is, you can systematise it.

But I’d caution against rushing in. The temptation is to set up systems and process for all your salon marketing as quickly as you can. However, systems take time to bed in and you also run the danger of swamping your team with too many processes at once.

I’d suggest developing one big marketing system, such as a client’s first visit, per month and no more. In fact, maybe less to start with. The important thing is to make it a team habit. Once it’s established as a habit and routinely happens then you can move onto the next marketing system.

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